History was made in Livingston, and the Belgrade boys' golf team appreciates it.
But they also know something bigger is on the horizon.
The Panthers collected their third consecutive Central A divisional golf title on Saturday at the Livingston Golf Course, placing Zach Klonsinski, Austin Stowell and Dylan Livingston first through third and posting a 326 team score. Belgrade was 28 strokes ahead of runner-up Havre, and had all four scoring golfers in the top six. The Panthers have won every Class A-only tournament they participated in leading up to divisionals, and the trend continued.
“To go out on top, there’s no better way right?” Klonsinski, who finished ninth last season, said. “For Central A, at least.
“It’s been a great ride here in high school, and we have one more week left to accomplish the ultimate goal.”
The goal for seniors Klosinski and Stowell was to card in the mid- to low-70s, and it was close to accomplished. Klonsinski carded a 79, with Stowell one stroke behind. Stowell had a one-stroke lead at the turn, but an eight on the final hole gave his teammate the victory.
“It’s making history; we’ve done our job here at Belgrade,” Stowell said. “It’s just setting the tone for state. We’re preparing ourselves for next week, which is what we should be doing.”
Livingston, a first-year golfer, carded an 82 while Taylor Ferguson, a top-five finisher throughout the season, shot 85 for sixth place. Andrew Donaldson shot a 96 to close the top 15.
“Our goal was to make it to state; our ultimate goal is to win a state championship,” head coach Joe Rossman said. “We’re extremely excited we did what we did; now we go to the next step.”
Belgrade will bring three girls along with its boys' team as junior Jessie Hirsch (102), senior Leighton Hirsch (104) and classmate Cheyenne Monger (109) placed eighth, 11th and 15th, respectively, on the girls' side.
“I’m extremely excited three girls are going to state,” Rossman said. “I would have loved to have four, but we’ll take three.”
The girls' team title went to host Livingston, who won their second consecutive divisional title. The Rangers shot a 378, led by Christal Tokash’s 82 and Michaela Amunrud’s 96. Tokash, a junior, moved from third in 2011 to first this season and had a birdie on the par-5 No. 16.
“I did pretty good today, but mostly I was concerned about our team score,” Tokash said. “Today was a warm up for state. It was nice, because I wanted to prove to myself I could do well in crunch time.”
“Oh, yeah, it was a real positive day for the girls,” head coach Joel Cahoon said. “I was pretty pleased with the team score. I don’t know if it’s good enough to win a plaque, but at least people will take some notice.”
Livingston’s Nick Bragg (85) and Colton Oppelt (95) qualified for the Class A state invitational after placing fifth and 13th, respectively.